So you made it to magnificent Italy only to find that *gasp* it’s freaking hot.
Typically, the hottest months of the year in Italy are July and August (but in the last few years the weather has been anything but predictable, so it can be hard to judge). Before getting here, don’t simply gauge things based on the degrees listed on the forecast as the humidity present adds a whole nother dimension to heat perception (which can be hard to fathom until you’re here to experience it firsthand).
Here are my recommendations to help survive a hot Italian summer:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Seriously, when it’s this hot you can’t get enough water. Keep in mind that in Italy water fountains are plentiful just about everywhere you go so you can easily top up your water bottle. Just be on the lookout for signs that say acqua non potabile which means that the water isn’t safe to drink.
- Having a spritzer or a fan is like a piece of heaven. Just being able to mist yourself with some water will help cool you off. And those elderly Italian women have those fans for a reason. They help. A lot.
- Don’t assume that everywhere will have air conditioning (because it won’t). Italians are actually quite against A/C as they are convinced it’s bad for your health. Don’t forget the old adage, “When in Rome…”
- If you get on the train and it feels like a cattle car, keep on walking until you find a car where the air conditioning is working. This applies, in particular, to the regional trains where finding a car with properly functioning A/C is hit and miss.
- If you’re staying in a place without A/C (yes, lots of places in Italy don’t have air conditioning) ask for a fan. And if it’s sweltering hot, do what the Italians do and take a cold shower right before going to bed. It’s amazing the difference this makes!
- Head to the seaside or to the mountains where you can cool off. Visiting the art cities (like Rome & Florence) in August is a bit eery as they are essentially void of Italians who have all made an exodus to cooler locales. If you can tolerate the heat, however, it’s actually a relatively crowd-free time of year to visit the inland cities and their museums.
- Try not to be a grump. You’re hot, I’m hot, we’re all hot. But we’re in this together. Let’s try to make the best of it, shall we? Speaking of which…
- Counteract the heat by eating lots and lots of tasty gelato (as if you needed me to remind you of this). Gelato makes everything better, trust me.